You lean back in your chair as you relax slightly. So far, you think, this interview has been going pretty well.
Of course, you practiced answers to the hard questions you anticipated. The hiring manager breaks through your moment of self-reflection and asks:
"So, what are three positive things your last boss would say about you?"
It seems so easy, and yet...you didn't practice for this one. Your brain screams, Think of something!
How To Answer The Question
It's important to be truthful and specific. You can show off a little bit here with some unique and realistic examples.
It's awesome if you can tie the traits to the particular role that you're interviewing for, so consider the role description and the values of the company or team as you prepare your answer.
You're applying to work on a product team. Would your boss have anything to say about you that the team would view as a positive trait? Perhaps your boss thinks you're a great communicator.
You could say, "At my previous role, my boss relied on me to create the agendas for many of our meetings and check in with the meeting leaders because of my strong communication skills."
You're interviewing for a contract role in which you will have little oversight. What might your boss say about your ability to work independently or manage projects with little oversight?
You could say, "My boss knew that she could rely on me to get things done without reminders. I oversaw the end-to-end design of one of the biggest projects at our organization last year."
How can you prepare for this question well?
Definitely Avoid These Traps
There's a fine line on this question between making it positive and just annoying the interviewer. To keep your good momentum going:
Show off a little, but don't brag. No one likes it.
Don't go on and on with an example. They don't have the context to understand your funny anecdote.
Don't lie or exaggerate. If you make it further in the interview process, they may contact your references, so present yourself truthfully.
Don't say something that's already in your resume. Give them something they don't know!
This question can be a slam dunk for your success if you remember these tips!